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11 Ways to Get the Perfect Cut on Your Lawn

Oct 1, 2022 | Lawns

A vibrant, healthy lawn of green grass is the basis of creating an attractive exterior for your home. Of course, mowing is key, not only to keep your lawn looking great, but also for the grass to stay healthy and stimulate its growth. But sometimes, even after mowing, that grass isn’t looking so good. This is because not all mowing is good mowing! Our staff at Johnson’s Landscaping Service are well-versed in all the ways to mow a lawn correctly and leave your lawn looking its best. If you want to entrust your lawn mowing to professionals, Johnson’s Landscaping Service is here to help out. If you want to mow your lawn yourself, but your mowing is leaving you with brown, uneven, or patchy terrain you have a look over these simple and useful tips to get the perfect cut on your lawn. 


1. Always mow with a sharp lawnmower blade

A dull blade can tear up the grass and leave you with an uneven, patchy lawn, whereas a sharp blade will give you a nice, clean cut. Plus, repeatedly mowing with a dull blade is harmful to the health and nutrition of your grass in the long term. Torn-up grass doesn’t look good, but it can also actually even make it more susceptible to disease. We recommend sharpening the blade of your mower around once a year. If you can’t remember the last time you sharpened your blade, that probably means you’re ready for sharpening. You can typically tell if a lawn has been mowed with a dull blade. If you see an uneven, patchy cut and torn leaves, you likely are overdue for a blade sharpening. You can do this yourself or have it professionally done at a shop. Professionals recommend sharpening a lawn mower blade before the seasons when your grass is most likely to undergo heat stress, in the beginning of the spring and again in mid-summer. 

2. Mow in the early morning or early evening

 If you mow in the morning or evening, the sun will not be as strong and the grass will be cooler. This will be better for both you and your lawn! Mowing when the sun is high can make it harder for the grass to begin its regrowth and rooting processes. On the other hand, you don’t want to mow too close to sunset in order to give the grass time to regenerate before it gets dark out. In any case, your neighbors may not appreciate you mowing very early in the morning or too late in the evening. For these reasons, early morning or early evening mowing are the sweet spots. One quick note: early morning may not be ideal for some, depending on the climate you live in and the season, grass can be wet with dew in the morning. You should avoid mowing wet grass. This leads us into our next tip.

3. Mow when the grass is dry

You want to always mow on a dry lawn because wet grass will leave unsightly clumps in your yard, and worse, can clog your mower or block the grass below them from growing. If it rains the day you were planning to mow, you may want to wait an extra day for the grass to dry off. 

4. Don’t mow too low – cut the grass to a height of 2 to 3 inches

The height you’ll leave on the grass is important: it shades the soil, allowing it to stay cool even on hot, sunny days. Leaving some length, 2 to 3 inches, on the grass blades also encourages the roots to grow deeper. Deeper roots mean more access to water and nutrients, which means a better looking lawn for you. Even though leaving longer blades will require you to mow more often, it’ll pay off by helping soft, hearty grass grow in your lawn! For healthy grass, you also never want to cut it more than 1/3rd of its height. While these general rules hold true, you may want to get informed on the recommended mow heights for the specific kind of grass species you have in your lawn.

5. Vary your mowing pattern

Once you’ve gotten used to regularly mowing your lawn, it’s easy to slip into a mowing pattern. It’s actually better for your lawn if you switch up that pattern and mow in a different direction than you did the last time. If you always mow in the same pattern, overtime, your grass will start to lean and grow in the direction that you mow, ultimately resulting in an uneven look to your lawn. Switching up your pattern and mowing from all different directions will leave grass standing up straighter. 

6. Edge the lawn along sidewalks, driveways, and flower beds

7. Use a string trimmer to get a clean, straight edge along the lawn

You don’t want to get too close to trees, curbs, flower beds, or fences or anything else that may be on your lawn. If you attempt to get too close of a cut with your lawn mower, you could end up with cut up flowers, a damaged fence, or a bent mower blade. 

8. Make sure your lawn is level

In order to get a level cut on your lawn, you’ll want to check the evenness of the ground before you get started. Of course, you cannot achieve a level cut if the ground itself is not level. Check your lawn over closely to locate any dips, potholes, or mounds. Uneven ground will cause the mower to scalp certain areas, leaving you with patches of dirt. This is also a great time to find and remove any large rocks, sticks or toys that may be lying around! 

9. Make sure your blade and your mower deck are level

A bent lawn mower blade is common. Hitting any large sticks, rocks, or a curb will usually bend a blade. You never want to mow using a bent blade because it will immediately tear up your grass. Typically, it is difficult or impossible to bend a blade back into shape. In this case, you’ll need to replace it with a new blade. You also need to ensure that your mower deck is level, although this is not something you’ll need to do frequently. The mower deck can be uneven if one tire is low on air, so you’ll want to give your tire pressure a quick check. To level out your mower deck, park your lawn mower on a level surface and turn it off. Measure the outside height of the blade on each side. If there is more than a 1/8th of an inch difference between the two blades, you’ll want to adjust them to even them out. 

10. Don’t mow on a schedule. 

Just like with watering plants, mowing on a schedule instead of when the lawn needs it can be worse for the lawn. You might cut it too short. Instead, only mow your lawn when it’s in need of a trim. Depending on environmental factors, your grass will grow different amounts from week to week. 

11. Leave grass clippings on your lawn after you mow. 

Leaving grass clippings on your lawn as mulch can promote grass health because the clippings will break down quickly and help nourish the soil. Another big plus of this method is that it can also keep weeds in check. If you mow your lawn regularly enough, the clippings will be small and break down more easily. 

If you want the perfect cut without having to do all this work yourself, call the landscape maintenance experts! We know what your landscape needs to thrive.

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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